Companies that violate labor laws are generally required to pay their workers what they were owed, but rarely do the violations result in someone serving jail time. The owner of nine Papa John’s franchises outside of Texas and his company — BMY Foods — were accused of failing to provide overtime pay to its workers. The parent company — Papa John’s International Inc. — was not named as a defendant in the case because the workers were employees of the franchise.
The employees were reportedly working over 40 hours per week on a regular basis. Instead of being paid time-and-one-half on those hours, the workers were allegedly being paid their regular hourly wage instead. In an attempt to cover up the wrongdoing, the defendants created imaginary employees who were assigned the overtime hours.
The attorney general and U.S. Department of Labor conducted an investigation into the unpaid wages. This is not the first time that Papa John’s franchisees have been investigated for wage theft, and the attorney general has been aggressively pursuing these franchises as well as others in the same industry for violating the law. The franchise owner pleaded guilty to not paying his employees correctly in accordance with New York law. His company pleaded guilty to tampering with the company’s records.
As part of the settlement, the franchise owner will be required to pay $230,000 that will be distributed to the affected employees. Additionally, he will be spending two months in jail for altering the business records, which is a felony. Texas employees who suspect that they have been denied overtime pay or experienced other forms of wage theft are within their rights to legally pursue what they believe is owed to them.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Papa John’s Franchisee Gets Jail Time For Failing To Pay Full Wages“, Dave Jamieson, Nov. 16, 2015